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News/Business. (2011) Bullying within schools over sexual orientation; four dead prostitutes on Long island beach; a refuge for poached monkeys in Costa Rica. New. (CC)

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Samantha 15, Us 11, Justin 5, Long Island 4, America 4, Shanon Gilbert 4, Shannon Gilbert 4, Carol 4, Kimberly 3, Shannon 3, Puma 3, Bum 3, Carlson 3, Jack 3, Michelle 3, Erica 2, Siemens 2, Suonline 2, Phoenix 2, Jasmine 2,
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  CNN    CNN Presents    News/Business.  (2011) Bullying within schools over sexual  
   orientation; four dead prostitutes on Long island beach; a...  

    July 30, 2011
    5:00 - 6:00pm PDT  

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with a source telling cnn that republican senate leader mitch mcconnell is negotiating with the white house. democratic leaders met with the president earlier today as well. but senator harry reid said on the senate floor tonight that there is no real progress to report. i want you to make sure you stay with cnn throughout the night. we'll bring in the latest information and developments from washington. join me tonight here at 10:00 p.m. eastern for the very latest. tonight on "cnn presents," don't teach, don't tell? >> parents have a right to raise their children the way they want to. >> a school district at war over homosexuality. >> he came to me and said, mom, the kid at school said that i was going to go to yell because i'm gay. into the wild. animals ripped from the wilderness where they belonged. >> we're just about 20 feet away from the giant puma. >> a journey to a place where one woman's passion is keeping wild animals wild.
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but first, long island's serial killer. >> that's how we know that we're dealing with a monster, a hannibal lector. >> beautiful homes, mysterious murders. >> four of the victims were pound in a burlap type material. >> larson traces the trail of a serial killer still on the loose. this is babylon, long island. it's an hour's drive away from manhattan and it's known for beautiful million dollar homes and secluded beaches. but that same isolation that people come here to seek, as of late, has been masking a darker element. in december policing on long island make a shocking discovery. >> i don't think it's a coincidence that four bodies
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ended up in this area. >> for the past couple of years, women kept disappearing on long island. now, police think they may know why. >> we could have a serial killer. >> we are dealing with a psychotic murderer. >> police still don't have answers, so we tried to get to the bottom of this eerie mystery. >> where are we going now, gus? >> gus, a man neighbors call the unofficial mayor of this community shows me around. >> that be the house. that's where it all began. >> he tells me about a night last may that brought an unbelievable mystery to his doorstep. >> she showed up at my door, and she was banging on the door screaming, help me, help me, help me. i opened the door and she stepped there and just stood there yelling help me. >> he later learned the woman
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was 23-year-old shanon gilbert. >> i picked the phone up and i started to dial 911 and she bolted out the door and there was the car coming down this road slow, stopping, going, stopping. i asked him, what are you guys doing? he said they had a party at brewer's house. she got upset and left. they were looking to find her to bring her back to the party. he took off after her. >> in the car? >> in the car. that was the last time i saw her. >> he says he waited about 45 minutes for the police. by the time they arrived, shanon gilbert had vanished. when the police came back later they questioned the driver who took off after her. the driver told them they brought shanon from the city out to long island. police also questioned the man, according to the driver, was throwing the party when they left. that man was justin brewer who did not return our phone calls to speak with us about this story. police told him gilbert wasn't
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just a party guest at brewer's house. >> brewer was the one that hired this young lady to come out here. >> slan nongilbert was an escort who posted ads on craigslist. because of her work as an escort, shanon's sisters sarah and sherry often worried about her. >> why did you guys come all of the way down here? >> because my sister disappeared. >> when did you first know that your sister had gone mising? >> we first found out that sunday, her boyfriend call medicme called me and said she hadn't come home in two days. >> did you have any thoughts? >> honestly i thought she ran off, found some friends and partied for two days and was going to come home. when we went through her sprint account and figured her last call was to 911, kind of changed our whole perspective of what might have became of her. >> shanon's phone records showed she was on the phone with police for 23 long minutes before she showed up at coletti's door for help. >> they didn't feel they were
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being taken seriously or helped and they were very distraught. >> reporter: gilbert's family started working with dottie laster and a team of private investigators to work with the family. they've been digging into the case for months. they're especially concerned about that 911 call. >> she was in danger. she has not come back. she has not called anyone. >> what did you do? >> we pretty much from there tried to do our own investigation. we made up fliers, passed them out, went door to door, making up notes to give to the detectives. actually found a piece of her julie. >> reporter: in searching near brewer's house they said they turned up something the police had overlooked. >> the police had been there and searched it before the sisters went there. when the sisters went they said they found her earring on the front porch. so they're more frantic, now they're more frustrated. >> reporter: they got even more frustrated when they left without suspects. >> i feel sorry for them. >> reporter: police ruled brewer
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and the driver out as suspects. so the family began working with investigators to piece together any clues of her life before she disappeared. >> this is actually shanon's signature. >> reporter: we went back to visit shanon's sister sarah in the economically depressed region of upstate new york where they grew up. her sister said right before they disappeared shanon was trying to get out of escort work. >> she was taking online classes. it's hard. we all grew up below poverty. >> she liked to dress up. she liked to have a good time. >> yes. >> she liked to party? >> yes. >> was she like that in high school, too? >> no, she was very quiet. she was like the book worm. >> this is shanon gilbert's middle school. she starred in the eighth grade production of "annie" here. she had dreams of bright lights and big cities. but what she found was the reality wasn't nearly as glamorous as she envisioned. when she couldn't pay the rent she found work with an escort
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agency. easy money paid bills but ultimately made her life harder. after only a short time as an escort her family says she had an arrest record and a drug habit. i've watched them. you guys are very close. were you close with shanon like that as well? >> yes, we were close. if one of us were missing my sister would do the same thing right now to try to find her. >> her family kept urging us to please search, to please take the dogs. it was about to get cold. >> reporter: when police finally took search dogs out to look for shanon gilbert a month after she disappeared they made a shocking discovery. >> missing persons unit called us out on saturday to follow up on an investigation on a missing person. i saw the skeletal remains of a body. >> reporter: over the next couple of days, police would find three more sets of remains. coming up, the search for
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shannon and the chilling possibility that a serial killer is on the loose. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ look at that car, well, it goes fast ♪ ♪ givin' my dad a heart attack ♪ [ friend ] that is so awesome. ♪ i love my car [ engine revving ] [ male announcer ] that first chevy, yea, it gets under your skin. ♪ it gets under your skin. discover customersl are getting five percent cashback bonus at the pump... and at many of the places their summer plans take them. it pays to switch, it pays to discover. really? 25 grams of protein. what do we have? all four of us, together? 24.
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before you begin an aspirin regimen. talk to your doctor, and take care of what you have to take care of. talk to your doctor, somewhere in america, a city comes to life. it moves effortlessly, breathes easily. it flows with clean water. it makes its skyline greener and its population healthier. all to become the kind of city people want to live and work in. somewhere in america, we've already answered some of the nation's toughest questions. and the over sixty thousand people of siemens are ready to do it again. siemens. answers.
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this past december, police out searching for shannon gilbert in the area where she disappeared in long island stumble on not one, but four badly decomposed bodies. >> okay, good morning, everybody. >> reporter: the police commissioner delivers news that terrifies shannon gilbert's family. >> i don't think it's a coincidence that four bodies ended up in this area. we could have a serial killer. >> reporter: four of the victims were found in a burlap-like material. that indicates two things. one, that it's very likely that those four victims were killed by the same person -- a serial killer. and the second thing is suggests is that the killer most likely killed his victims elsewhere and transported them here to be dumped. in january, police put names to
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the remains. shannon's family is relieved. she's not one of them. but they're still alarmed. all four victims are eerily similar to shannon in age, height and looks, and every single one advertised on craigslist as escorts. had police searched far enough? one of the bodies police identified was amber lynn costello. her sister, kim overstreet, is looking for answers. >> i was doing research, trying to backtrack, getting everything i could. it got to the point where -- >> reporter: she says police told her very little about the investigation, so like the gilbert family, she started doing her own digging. >> it is my baby sister. you know? it eats at me every day. it's consuming. >> reporter: kim herself used to work for an escort agency. she tried to teach her sister how to stay safe on the job. but, she says her sister was a
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drug addict which made her even more vulnerable. so where we going now. >> we're going to where amber was staying, where the last place she walked out of was, where she met the guy that picked her up. >> reporter: this is the house where amber was last seen. on the night that amber disappeared, kim was out of the state. are you okay? >> yeah. >> tell me what's going on. >> it's just this is the last place she was. i've been here so many times with her. i just can't believe -- that morning she had got a call from a guy who was willing to set up something that night. he called her again maybe 10:05, and said he was coming down the
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road, for her to go ahead and walk out. she hung the phone up, gave the phone to the people that was with and said if my sister calls, tell her i love her. she walked out the door, was never seen again. >> reporter: family and friends of the other victims tell similar stories. each apparently disappeared after meeting clients. melissa bartholomew's family may have even got an call from the killer. just days after she went missing, melissa's baby sister picked up the call because she thought it was her sister. >> at that point it was five days when the first call came in and caller i.d., melissa, she answers, she's all excited. there is a guy on the other end. >> reporter: the family got six straight calls from someone using melissa's phone. police don't want the details out there, but melissa's mother will say the caller was threatening and wouldn't answer the family's questions.
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>> we didn't know what he did to her, if she was still alive, he wouldn't say if he wanted money or -- >> reporter: on that final call, lynn says he confessed. >> he just confirmed that he killed her. that's why we were thinking this guy obviously held these girls and tortured them. why else would he have called for over a month unless he was just torturing us? >> reporter: the family attorney -- >> that's how we know that we're dealing with a monster, a hannibal lecter, someone who's very bright and very calculating and very patient. >> reporter: in april, police find the remains of up to six more victims. they speculate about something truly horrifying. there may be more than one serial killer at work here.
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>> certainly the medical examiner is going to be looking at the possibility that shannon gilbert is one of the remains. >> there is no secret that we've been dumping bodies out here for decades. >> reporter: lou colombo is a retired officer from long island. he shows us how hard it is to search here. >> you can just look at it and know you literally cannot walk in from the roadway into this area. as a result, it lends itself to discarding a body, making it almost impossible to find. >> reporter: he says police have always known the area as a good place to get rid of a body, and he explains why this will be a tough case to crack. in all fairness to nasa county police department, there aren't really hard and fast clues here, right? >> nothing. there's no physical evidence of
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forensics unlike you'd find at a conventional crime scene, at an apartment or at a home. >> reporter: shannon gilbert was not among the remains police found. it's been over a year since she disappeared. as the families of the victims gather to remember this loved ones, none are any closer to knowing what happened. >> we're hopeful because she wasn't recovered, so that does give us hope that she still might be out there. but at the same time we want that closure, we want to know. >> we are dealing with a psychotic murderer who is very bright, very deliberate, very calm, very well prepared, who will kill again. next on "cnn presents" -- >> was the bullying part of the reason you think, erica, that your best friend killed herself? >> most definitely. there's no question about it.
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>> what led this 13-year-old to the brink? >> we have no evidence that bullying or harassment took place in any of those cases. and later, what it takes to fight the multi-billion dollar illegal animal trade. a monkey refuge where the people live in cages and animals roam free. [ male announcer ] this is the network. a network of possibilities. excuse me? my grandfather was born in this village. [ automated voice speaks foreign language ] [ male announcer ] in here, everyone speaks the same language. ♪ in here, forklifts drive themselves. no, he doesn't have it. yeah, we'll look on that. [ male announcer ] in here, friends leave you messages written in the air. that's it right there. [ male announcer ] it's the at&t network. and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say. it's the cleanest, clearest water. we find the best, sweetest crab for red lobster we can find. yeah!
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this is samantha's swimsuit. it's been hanging here, and i
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just can't put it away. >> a swimsuit hanging lifeless since november 2009 when michelle johnson's only daughter took her own life. >> to see your child lay there lifeless and not know why. >> reporter: what she would learn is that her 13-year-old's world had become unbearable. >> we believe that she was just hiding from everybody because she was feeling helpless. samantha was kind of a tomboy, and she was perceived as gay. >> was she gay? >> no. we don't think she was gay. she was 13. >> reporter: samantha was the first of seven students to commit suicide in a single minnesota school district in less than two years. parents and friends tell us four of those teens were either gay, perceived to be gay, or questioning their sexuality, and at least two of them were
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bullied over it. we're about 30 minutes outside of minneapolis in anoka, the biggest school district in the entire state. but the reason we're here is because it has become a battleground over homosexuality in the classroom. the district has a controversial curriculum policy that says staff must remain neutral on matters of sexual orientation. it has ignited a culture war. one that's playing out in school board meetings. >> the homosexual lifestyle is a social controversial issue that should be addressed in the home and not the school. >> these children are human beings. >> we're allowing these kids to be treated as second class citizens. >> reporter: allegations of bullying have brought unwanted media attention, and cnn has learned a federal investigation into this quiet suburban community. >> a student threw me up against a wall, lockers, and screamed
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"fag" at me. >> reporter: mike thurston, an eighth-grader at anoka middle school isn't gay but he is the president of the school's gay-straight alliance. >> a student, for whatever reason, came up to me during social studies and said, so how big was it in your mouth last night? >> reporter: the bullying made school a daily battle for kids like mike and samantha. erica hoops was samantha's best friend. >> yeah. she didn't feel safe anywhere. during volleyball they would call her names like fag, and like go over to the boy's locker room. you shouldn't be in here. >> did any adults see this? >> yeah. but they didn't ever do anything. i was in the locker room at one point when she was getting harassed and the coach was looking at it first. but she didn't stop anybody. >> reporter: samantha's mother, michelle, didn't learn about the bullying until she showed up one day at volleyball practice.
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>> and the coach said, can i help you? and i said, i'm samantha jones' mother. where is she? she said, oh, i haven't seen samantha in weeks. and i thought, what? how can that be? she's taking the late bus home. so she said, well, i know that there is a couple of girls that are being very mean to her. >> so the coach knew she was being bullied. >> right. >> had she ever told that you before you came down to practice? >> no. >> did you see anyone bullying samantha? >> reporter: the district requires staff to report all bullying. we reached out to samantha's coach. >> there was issues everywhere in her life and her situation, and they were addressed to the best of the ability, and i don't have anything else to say. >> reporter: samantha never made it to another volleyball practice.
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just like justin didn't make it to his 16th birthday. justin was gay. >> this one girl told the whole school -- >> reporter: his friend brandi says the bullying began shortly after justin was outed in the eighth grade. >> he told me somebody had grabbed his balls and said "you like that." eventually his counselor knew something was wrong. >> reporter: justin's mother, tammy, says she was never contacted about the incident. and then just months before taking his life -- >> he came to me and said, mom, a kid at school says i was going to go to hell because i'm gay. >> can you say without a doubt that justin's suicide was connected to the bullying? >> yes, i believe it was connected. do i know what the last thing was that happened that made him make the final act? no, i don't know what it was. >> reporter: we will never know what drove samantha and justin
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to take their lives. but here's what we do know. in a school newsletter, and in a voice mail to staff, the superintendent dennis carlson denies any connection between bullying and the suicides. >> based on all of the information we've been able to gather, none of the suicides were connected to incidents of bullying or harassment. >> reporter: a statement that angered family and friends. >> i kept thinking, you liar, liar, liar, because there's totally a connection. >> was the bullying part of the reason, you think, erica, that your best friend killed herself? >> most definitely, there's no question about it. >> did the school district talk to you after samantha committed suicide? >> i never once got talked to. >> what bothered me most is that nobody asked us. >> we have dozens of people that are looking into each one of though suicides. they that you canned to as many people as they can surrounding that suicide. >> reporter: we asked
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superintendent carlson why no one talked to samantha's mother or her best friend. they feel like, dennis, an investigation or review wasn't done. >> we did not do a formal investigation. we would only do a formal investigation if there was some indication that there was need for that. >> why wouldn't there be a need for that when you have kids killing themselves? >> there needs to be some evidence that bullying, harassment, was part of their life in that school. i cannot emphasize enough, kids need to come forward to the adults in the building and say "we're being bullied." if they do not, there is nothing much we can do. >> i am the mother of samantha johnson, a student at fred moore. >> reporter: at the statement michelle e-mailed the superintendent saying she had talked to the volleyball coach -- the vice principal and the counselor about samantha's bullying. carlson insists the district followed up with the school members but can't release the
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records citing privacy concerns. he says michelle now refuses to speak with them. >> i can't trust the school with samantha's life, i don't know why can i trust them now. >> reporter: when we come back, one teach who wants to take on the district. >> are you afraid you could lose your job just being here talking about this? >> realist tickically, yeah. fiber one. uh, forgot jack's cereal. [ jack ] what's for breakfast? um... try the number one! [ jack ] yeah, this is pretty good. [ male announcer ] half a day's worth of fiber. fiber one.
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>> reporter: it's 9:00 on a typical school night. >> i just got a text from a young lady. >> reporter: an anoka middle schoolteacher is in crisis mode. >> it looks like she's got a friend who is in crisis and thinking about suicide. >> just now. >> just now. yeah. >> how often does this happen? >> it's about once a week. sometimes more. >> reporter: it turns out to be just one scare of many. >> just this morning i had another kid hospitalized. last week i had another kid hospitalized. >> for what? >> for getting so overwhelmed that suicide seems the only way out. >> reporter: he's openly gay and he's the advisor for his school's gay-straight alliance. he says suicidal feelings are common among gay youth and those questioning their sexuality. in fact, studies since the 1990s
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consistency show gay and lesbian youth have suicide attempt rates at least twice that of their heterosexual peers. this school district has been hard-hit. the question is -- what role does school climate really play. this is the only minnesota school district we could find with a curriculum policy that bars teachers from taking a position on homosexuality and says such matters are best addressed outside of school. it's become known as the neutrality policy and some teachers say it's part of the problem. >> because there's so much we can't do and say to help create a more accepting and affirming and welcoming environment that would eliminate some of that bullying in the first place. >> it is a censorship policy. it is censorship. there's nothing neutral about taking the side of the oppressor. >> it seems like you're saying this is contributing to leading these kids to the brink.
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>> it is contributing to creating a hostile, toxic environment. >> reporter: but superintendent dennis carlson says the district has a comprehensive bullying policy and has piloted a bullying tip line. he has the neutrality policy is a reasonable response to a divided community. >> it is a diverse community and what i try to do as superintendent is walk down the middle of the road. >> if they're going to hell, i'm going with them. >> reporter: a middle of the road approach that's pitting parents against parents. >> a policy -- >> you're out of line. >> you're out of line, too, sir. >> i mean, this idea of check your identity at the door, would you tolerate that? >> we are not advocating that we teach homosexuality, that we teach anything other than tolerance. >> i don't need to be promoting a particular point of view on that. parents have a right to raise their children the way they want to and the school district doesn't need to be sitting there telling kids your parents are
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wrong. >> i know you're in support of the sexual orientation policy and i'm just hoping you'll tell me why. some local conservative parents have banded together form being the parents avenue's action league. we tried multiple times to talk to them. would you mind taking a minute -- >> no. no further comment. >> reporter: on their website they push for parents' rights and for schools to focus on core academics. in a recent letter to the local newspaper, one active community member wrote -- it is irresponsible for educators to promote the "it's okay to be gay" message to students when homosexuality is such a high-risk behavior. now the fight has gone federal. cnn has confirmed that the departments of justice and education are investigating the district. after receiving a complaint regarding allegations of harassment and discrimination based on sex. this policy sends kids the message that who they are is not okay. >> reporter: an advocacy group, the southern poverty law center, and the national center for lesbian rights have filed a
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lawsuit challenging the neutrality policy. the splc was present for cnn interviews involving its clients. in response to the lawsuit, the district says they are confident that they are complying with the law, and that the policies, practice, and procedures in place ensure the safety of the students. the district also says it takes "strong exception" to the outrageous media statements the district is not concerned about the safety of its students. and it has asked the advocacy groups to help train its staff in supporting gay students. but superintendent carlson stands by the neutrality policy. still, he knows there's a problem. >> we need students to speak up and said, "i am being bullied." we know that gay students in our district on a daily basis struggle with bullying and harassment. >> reporter: if you doubt that, just listen to these kids from anoka middle school's gay-straight alliance. many aren't gay.
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>> if you're in the club, not everyone is. >> reporter: but just being in the club can make them a target. raise your hand if you've been bullied in the last month. last week? what about today? how does hearing these words, you're gay, you're a fag, you're different, how does this make you feel? >> every day it gets a little bit deeper and deeper around deeper. it's like a wound that won't heal. >> why did you decide to join the gay-straight alliance? >> it is just a safe place to be where no one will judge you for who you are. >> reporter: the battle over the neutrality policy is the adult's fight. kids just want to be safe and they don't want any more of their friends like samantha johnson to die.
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>> she was sick of everything. >> sick of what? >> the bullying. coming up -- the hazards of preserving life in the wild. >> what's going on here? it moves effortlessly, breathes easily. it flows with clean water. it makes its skyline greener and its population healthier. all to become the kind of city people want to live and work in. somewhere in america, we've already answered some of the nation's toughest questions. and the over sixty thousand people of siemens are ready to do it again. siemens. answers. i've tried it. but nothing's helped me beat my back pain. then i tried this. it's salonpas. this is the relief i've been looking for. salonpas has 2 powerful pain fighting ingredients that work for up to 12 hours.
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and my pharmacist told me it's the only otc pain patch approved for sale using the same rigorous clinical testing that's required for prescription pain medications. proven. powerful. safe. salonpas. the doctor leaned over and said to me, "you just beat the widow-maker." i was put on an aspirin, and it's part of my regimen now. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. go see your doctor now. backed by the superguarantee®? afind a businessen. only& suonline.s®. on your phone. or in the book. go to superpages®. and let the good guys save the day.
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the illegal wildlife trade is a $10 billion a year business. wild animals torn from nature, killed for food, or captured live, confined, chained, sold as exotic pets. i wanted to know what happens when you rip an animal out of paradise and turn it into a play thing and what it takes to put things right. what's going on here? so we headed out into the wild. to truly appreciate why wild animals belong in the wilderness, you have to go
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there. so we went to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world -- the costa rican rain forest. we're in this remote area known as the peninsula. we left the big city heading for the crown jewel of costa rica's parks system. we're here in the center of a small little gold mining town. it is also the gateway into a national park. in order to get in there you've got to hike for a couple days or you can do what we're doing and we're taking the aero taxi. this is the shortest landing runway that serves all of costa ri rica. they clear-cut the rain forest. we packed up all of our gear and our guide into a tiny single engine plane and held on tight. we're flying over. this is one of the most biologically intense places on earth.
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that had to be the coolest landing. home to the largest and only primary low-land rain forest in the world, 140 different animal species, many endangered. this professor from the national university of costa rica is a top expert and is one hell of a guide. in just 24 hours, we saw more than most park visitors see in a week. rugged, remote, stunningly beautiful inside the forest, and out. so this is the river where it meets the ocean. during high tide, which is right now, bull sharks sometimes up to 12 feet long come through here
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and feed. there's also crocodiles swimming through the waters just to cross this area would be risking your life. ♪ >> mean little guy. >> he's healthy. >> we're standing right in the middle of a pack. this is the main resource for pumas, jaguars and all the cats in the forest. people living nearby the forest come and hunt these because they taste really good. we're heading into the jungle now. obviously the sun's down and at night, a whole different slew of creatures comes out. we're just about 20 feet away from this giant puma. >> we can get a little bit closer. this is the main resource for pumas, jaguars and all the cats in the forest. people living nearby the forest come in and hunt these because
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they taste really good. we're heading into the jungle now. obviously the sun's down and at night, a whole different slew of creatures comes out. we're just about 20 feet away from this giant puma. >> we can get a little bit closer. >> i can get closer? incredible to be this close to the magnificent animal in the wild. >> she looks really well conditioned. >> she's getting up. what does that mean? >> nothing. >> is she coming towards us? >> don't go anywhere.
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okay? don't worry. even for me, it is not so often to see something like that. >> you've been doing this for 20 years. >> yeah. amazing experience. >> definitely an adrenalin rush. how does it make you feel when people have animals that you find in the rain forest as pets? >> it's really nice to have baby monkeys. when they grow, they become wild. they have instincts. they can bite people. it's same for other animals. a wild animal is a wild animal always. they are not good pets. beautiful. the forest. what else do you ask, what else? it's beautiful. i feel god here. can you feel it? we are not alone in this life. we are not the only species. >> reporter: beautiful, and it is isolated. to wildlife trackers, this
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beauty equals profit. but as we're about to see, help is just a boat ride away. >> i'm a certified jungle woman. woo! she has a single mission -- rescue and return the animals to the wild, whatever the cost. >> oh, yeah, she's got bite marks all over here. you've got the scars to prove what you do. >> this is the badge of courage i wear. >> reporter: by the end of our journey, we had badges, too. what do you call these? our monkey tattoos. >> this is a sanctuary tattoo. she's amazing, i love her. [ jade ] i'm teaching jasmine ap biology. i knew she had the talent... i always pushed her. [ jasmine ] her class you literally have to think, like it takes so long to do her homework. [ jade ] she's gained the confidence that she can achieve anything. [ jasmine ] i'm going to be a pediatrician... and i'm going to make this dream come true.
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as dawn breaks over costa rick a rica, you can hear a passing troupe of howler monkeys. animal traffickers take anything from macaws to monkeys, from the rain forests of central america, and sell them to the highest bidder at dozens of auctions held across the united states. they often become victims of
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abuse and neglect. caged, chained, tranquilized, or sometimes beaten into submission. i'm a certified jungle woman! woo! those who are lucky enough to be rescued are given to carol. you've got bite marks all over here. you've got the scars to prove what you do. >> it is a badge of courage i wear. >> do visitors ever get trounced on by monkeys. >> on occasion if they don't do what i tell them to do. >> reporter: 15 years ago, she sold everything she had, packed her bags and moved to costa rica. cruz runs the sanctuary which is a wildlife rescue center that borders a national park. what makes her rescue center unique, it's the only oni one i
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ever seen where the people live in cages and animals roam free, but freedom means the crew and i are at the mercy of the montes. meet sweetie. when she was just 4 days old, poachers shot her mother for meat, ripping sweetie off her dead mother's back, throwing her into the forest leaving her to die. and because of her past, sweetie is not so sweet. cruz says she especially dislikes men. >> every time we enter the kitchen we have to run. ♪ >> humans live in cages. monkeys run free. ♪ >> this is where i do all of my work. home sweet home. >> all the monkeys sleep right next to mama. >> yeah. life is good in the cage.
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>> why did you decide on that philosophy for you and your volunteers to be living in cages and the animals roaming free? >> i think we are working with an incredibly intelligent species here, primates, and if you acclimate them to life in a cage, i don't think they're as apt to leave. they're not as courageous. they have to break that bond what have they've lived in for three to four years. little one over here was confiscated from a hotel from tourists. came to us almost half dead. he was so dehydrated. >> hey, little guy. hello. oh, he's kissing me. these guys are small but they're some of the loudest mammals in earth. when you hear them in the forest, it is so creepy. all kinds of creatures live here. most of all, carol's favorite, monkeys. these animals have to be caged because of their aggression. >> they are true victims of the fair trade.
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i will enter this cage only with the idea that i'm the sacrificial lamb. carol tells us she can't go into the cage because she's the alpha monkey and they'd try to knock her off. they're considered the third smartest land mammal on earth. we went into the cage so that makes us the fourth. >> these are very aggressive monkeys. they're constantly moving around. which is one of the reasons they shouldn't be kept as pets. okay, what's going on here? >> i don't know. i'm getting out of here. >> the last guy that came through here had to get 13 stitches. they call it sanctuary tattoo. remember sweetie? she's the monkey with a grudge against men. one day she'll leave the sanctuary and join a wild troupe, but today we get a first-hand look at how quickly a
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tame monkey can get dangerous. >> walk away. walk away. >> she sees he is human. >> reporter: producer steve was holding one of the monkeys and he slipped and she got scared and bit him on the head. so now he's got -- >> this is a sanctuary tattoo. >> sanctuary tattoo. >> people think they can just keep these monkeys as pets. >> it is wildlife. >> look what happened. >> why do you think it's called wildlife? i've been bitten by almost every species here at the sanctuary. it just goes with the job. >> oh, look! what a good monkey. he's still a little sad. he hasn't quite gotten over the
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loss of his mother yet. >> are these like your adopted children in. >> they are. and it is a bittersweet moment when they leave but if you ever witness releasing an animal back to the wild, it is such a euphoric feeling that it gives you the energy and the strength through all those losses, through all that heartache to continue because it is such an incredibly good feeling. when lulu, our 3-year-old monkey gave birth, baby was still wet and she brought him down for me to feed. that just about took me to my knees. >> reporter: bittersweet is a good word to describe what carol cruz does. she hopes the animals she cares for so much will leave her. but she knows because of the damage people do to animals, there will unfortunately always be more. on the next "cnn presents" we'll take you where most people

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